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Highway 12 wreck, fire closes freeway bridge over weekend

Eastbound Highway 12 just east of Montesano was closed for about an hour Sunday afternoon after a woman struck the center median and her car caught fire, the Washington State Patrol reported. Another collision was reported about an hour later when another driver slowed for traffic and was rear-ended.

According to the State Patrol, Charlotte L. Sallee, 76, of Elma, was driving eastbound at about 1:40 p.m. when she began to merge into the left-hand lane. When she saw there was another car there, she swerved right, then over-corrected, striking the cable barrier on the left-hand shoulder of the highway.

After her car came to rest, it caught fire and the highway was closed for about an hour.

The State Patrol cited Sallee for an unsafe lane change, which they determined caused of the incident. She was uninjured. Her passenger, Dale A. Golder, 27, of Montesano, was injured but not taken to the hospital.

When Johnathon T. Stevens, 33, of Elma, slowed for the traffic just west of that collision at about 2:55 p.m., the State Patrol reports his car was rear-ended by Daniel O. Reed, 27, of Elma. Stevens was injured and taken to Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma.

Reed was cited for following too closely, according to the State Patrol press release.

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